When you do a search on YouTube about tuckpointing, do the results show you repointing videos? Or, have you searched about masonry repairs about what to do on your crumbly mortar or damaged masonry wall, but both repointing and tuckpointing appeared and now, you can’t figure out which is which? Does your chimney have cracking mortar between joints and can’t decide which repair is perfect? Well, it really is confusing, especially since their names sound almost the same. However, both have different results when determining which repair you should do. Note that every masonry structure, even chimney, can experience damage over time or harsh conditions, may it be because of the weather from serving your fireplace. But remember, uncured mortar or left damaged brickwork of your chimney may come to a worst-case scenario where you will have to rebuild it.

Learning what causes your mortar joints to be damaged and how to preserve your masonry chimney from damage for years are also recommended to know whether to repoint or tuckpoint brickwork. It is a way to keep your chimney healthy. You will learn more about Tuckpointing + Repointing on this page, and this might also hold answers to all your questions. Keep on reading!

What is Tuckpointing

Tuckpointing is focused explicitly on masonry design improvement or cosmetic procedures. It is a restoration of mortar joints to copy the joints found in the previous design. This is where the mason uses two different mortar colors to fill in the joints.

Tuckpointing brickwork starts with removing the previous mortar 1 inch deep and filling the empty joint with the brick-colored mortar. After that, you will proceed to make a V-groove in the middle of the dyed mortar joint. You must wait for it to be partially set before applying a thin lime putty mortar in the v-groove area.

If you are not sure because the terms brick tuckpointing and repointing still sound the same to you, you may continue reading! Some signs to know if you need some tuckpointing will be down below.

Read More: Tuckpointing 101:What You Need To Know About Tuckpointing

How Do You Know If You Need Tuckpointing?

You might not know, but the things you see on your masonry could be visible damage, and it may develop into a dangerous condition that will cause you more in the future. Usually, the damages or signs can be seen with your bare eyes, or you can use a special tool to scrape the bricks to identify the cracks. But if you are confused, here are some signs you can check for to know if you need to do some tuckpointing:

Cracks or crumbling

If you see some cracks on your brick structure, it is more likely that you need some tuckpointing. It will be more destructive if you neglect it.


Does your mortar have holes? Does it have gaps? It’s probably time you have it checked by a masonry expert since they probably know more about mortars than you do.

Whitish substance

That whitish substance should not be disregarded, as it may be a sign that your masonry structure needs tuckpointing!

What is Repointing

Damaged joints on your masonry chimneys brickwork may allow infiltration, which means it needs a repair. If this is left untreated, it may result in additional damage. It is recommended to have this repointed. Repointing means removing the damaged areas and replacing them with new and proper materials. This process can also strengthen your walls.

The process starts with removing the old mortar to replacing it with fresh mortar. The removed mortar must be 1 to 1/3 inch deep. Cleaning the area should also be done so there won’t be any problem when you start pointing mortar placement. After that, you must moisten the open joint. Please note that excess water may result in a weakened bond of the mortar and joint. Lastly, your mortar must be dressed to the shape and the depth of surrounding masonry joints.

How do you know if you need Repointing?

Even top-quality masonry encounters a time when it needs to be repointed. Even if you get durable and robust mortar, it won’t still last forever, as it still deteriorates over time; in this case, it might need some repointing. You might fail to notice it, but here are some indicators to know if it’s time to do the repointing:

Bricks are damaged

Damaged bricks could permit more moisture, which may result in compromising your structural integrity. You must focus your attention on the severely damaged bricks as it needs instant replacement.

Failed pointing

This could lead the brick surfaces to crumble since it traps moisture and prevents it from escaping through the mortar joints. This happens due to, for example, if the mason uses a modern cement mortar instead of the traditional lime mortar.

Improperly cleaned surface

You must figure out how to properly clean your brickwork, as it can get damaged from an unsuitable cleaning method. Please note that using chemical cleaning might result in stains, water might result in efflorescence, and an abrasive cleaning method may remove the brick’s protective fired surface. In addition, if you find a cleaning technique, it is recommended to do a patch test first before doing it on all areas.

Damp Conditions

If you notice damps in your home, it might be because of the penetrating dump in your brickwork. An inadequate pointing to brickwork may cause water to leak.


Do you notice the whitish substances on your brickwork? Well, it could be because of the water, including salts rising to the surface. Good news, it could not be a significant problem; however, if you think it blemishes your exterior masonry. Then it is best to have it repointed.

Get a piece of advice from an expert

If you are still overwhelmed by all the information given above and still can’t figure out whether to repoint or to tuckpoint, you may call a professional tuckpointing and repointing contractor. You can have your property checked and assessed to know which method you should get done. They will also explain what you need to know about your structure and whether it may need some repointing or tuckpointing. 

If you’re looking to hire someone for your next project, we offer masonry tuckpointing services in Washington, DCMaryland, and Northern Virginia.